Archive | March, 2014

Time Really Is on Your Side

31 Mar
Every day is a chance to make your time valuable.

Every day is a chance to make your time valuable.

I’m showing my age but back in the day, I used to love Allen Iverson. He looked like a guy that would have lived in my neighborhood. He wasn’t the tallest player, but he balled so hard you had to respect him. He was just fun to watch.

Allen Iverson, despite his talents, had a knack for sticking his foot in his mouth. One of his most famous incidents came after the 76ers lost in an early round of the playoffs and the coach commented that Iverson had been missing practice. During a post-game interview, Iverson was asked what he thought of his coaches comments and he had the best. Response. Ever!


“What are we talking about? Practice!”

Apparently Iverson just didn’t have time for it. He thought his skills were enough to keep him going. And now look at him. He’s bankrupt. He’s become a joke of the league, despite recently having his jersey retired. People look back on AI and talk about “practice,” not his skill. It’s sad.

There is a point here. Iverson didn’t have time for practice and as his career went on, it began to show. Say what you will about my man Kobe Bryant (and I’ve heard it all, so that wasn’t a real invitation), but he knows the value of staying up on your game. Kobe plays with broken wrists, jacked up ankles and sprained anything. He rehabilitates what needs work and he moves on. Kobe recognizes that you give time to the things that matter.

Despite what you’ve heard, there are enough hours in the day. Excuses are what people use to justify the reasons why not. I’m not blaming you. I’m just explaining.

I’m not perfect. I’ve made plenty of excuses myself. At the beginning of my weight-loss journey, all I did was make excuses about time. “I can’t work out tonight; it’s a new episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.” “I’ll have to order out tonight. I don’t have time to wait on things to thaw.” “The time it will take me to work out and get home, I won’t have time to do anything else.” “I didn’t [insert necessary activity here] because I didn’t have time.”

The fact is I did have time. I just didn’t use it wisely, and I didn’t prioritize my needs against my wants.

There are 24 hours in a day (shocking, I know). Think about that. How much time to you really need to do the things that have to get done? Are any of those to-dos things that need to be done or things you just want to do?

I’ll give you my full 24 hours (if I’m using them wisely)

7:15: alarm goes off
7:45: actually get out of bed to brush my teeth and get dressed
8:15: take the dog for a walk
8:30: pack my lunch and gym bag
8:40: eat breakfast
8:55: catch the train to work
9:25: work out
10:30: shower and change
10:50: start work
12:30-2: have lunch sometime in this time range
5:15-6: evening snack
7:30-8: finish work sometime in this time range
8:30-9: get home to walk the dog
9:15: dinner
2: bedtime (i’m a nightowl)

All of that is flexible. Sometimes my alarm will go off at 7:15 and I won’t get out of bed until 9. That kills my morning workout, which means I have to work out after work. It’s not my preference because I like to have my evenings free, but it is the sacrifice I make to achieve my goals.

Nothing about the weight-loss process is easy. You have to sacrifice time for things you want to do for things you have to do. Prioritize your goals and see how they fit into your schedule. If somethings don’t work, you’ll have to decide if what you need is more important than what you want. It will all make sense in due time.

How do you manage your time when working toward your weight-loss goal?

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It’s a Sabotage

24 Mar
Look at that. Isn't it glorious?

Look at that. Isn’t it glorious?

Throughout life, you learn a few things about yourself. I’ve learned that I hate when people are late. I love any activity that allows lounge time. I’m also a bit of a self saboteur.

It’s not something I do on purpose. I don’t seek to hinder my progress. However, I end up doing it anyway, knowing when I’m in the middle of it that I’m headed down the wrong path. For example, I’ve found that I can talk myself into not eating, thereby making my cravings for, say, a three-piece spicy chicken strip meal from Popeye’s that much stronger.

Self sabotage can happen when you’ve gotten complacent in your routine. When you know the rules of weight loss, you know how to break them. What ends up happening is you eventually get complacent in your complacency, leading you to self sabotage. You know this cookie won’t hurt in the grand scheme of things, so you have two more. You know you didn’t work out today, but you’re going to work out extra tomorrow.

Hunger and cravings are two different things. It took a while for me to learn that during my weight-loss journey. But when that clicked—hunger means you need to eat; craving is what you want to eat—it changed the way I looked at food. A spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s will always seem like a good idea when you haven’t eaten in eight hours.

And that’s my problem—taking a long time between meals. Like most people, I can get very busy at work. There have been days where I get to the office at about 10:30 in the morning and don’t leave until about 9 that night because I’ve been doing my daily work and other stuff. It’s a thing that happens to a lot of folks. When those days occur in succession, it can be hard to keep up with any type of meal plan and workout regimen. If you’ve been strapped to your desk for six hours, all your body wants is to not be hungry. Your mind, however, is telling you that there’s a Five Guys down the street that will have your Cajun fries ready in a jiffy.

I know from routine and practice that going to the nearest fast-food spot isn’t in my best interests. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve talked myself into waiting to eat so I can go. I’ll tell myself that having a few chicken nuggets isn’t so bad because I hadn’t had anything else and it will still count toward my calorie count for the day.

The problem with that thinking is I’m not doing myself any good. I’m getting in some calories to fuel my body, but they’re the wrong ones. I’m loading up on useless carbs and fats that will be even harder to work off. It’s not that I can’t ever have these kinds of foods ever again (that’s not going to happen because I love Wendy’s so much). But I can’t keep promising myself that I’m going to do better tomorrow while loading up on Popeye’s biscuits today.

One of the lessons I’ve learned to avoid self sabotage is just to be prepared. Have a box of granola bars in your desk. Don’t leave the house without an apple or a pear. Drink water. Know where the healthy-food options are in relation to the fast-food ones. If there’s a salad shop next to your fave McDonald’s, try the salad shop.

When cravings hit, it’s hard to drown out the sounds of your head and your stomach. But only one is also speaking to the people around you, so why not give it something useful.

What do you do when you find yourself veering off track.

photo credit: _Fidelio_ via photopin cc

Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Tilapia and Spinach

14 Mar

tilapia_spinachTime: 20 minutes to prep, about 30 minutes to cook

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, separated
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • half of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Clean the fillets and pat dry. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute half of garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Add fillets to pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside in oven at warm temperature
  3. Melt second tablespoon of butter in saucepan and saute rest of garlic to desired crispiness. Add spinach and salt and pepper. Saute until wilted.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over both spinach and tilapia. Serve tilapia atop spinach.

Verdict

This is one of the few dishes I make that I don’t need a recipe for. It’s very simple to make. I allowed extra time for prep and cooking, but it shouldn’t take more than an hour to prepare this. I love it because it’s light, it’s delicious and it takes no time to prepare. I serve it with brown rice.

I Did It: Working Out on Vacation

12 Mar

arpador

Editor’s note: Sorry for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, but I was on vacation in Rio. I’ll be posting this week about what I learned on my trip, and hopefully entice you to take a break there. Trust me: it’s awesome!

Rio is such a beautiful city covered in mountains right next to the ocean. The people are lovely, the men are beautiful and the drinks are aplenty. So is the fried food.

While on my trip, I indulged in some of the local delicacies, one of which is called a pastel. It’s basically like an empanada. Because we were trying to be thrifty with our food spending, this fast-food dish showed up quite often on my plate. “That’s fine,” I told myself. “I’ll work it off eventually.”

Well, I was in Rio for almost a week and didn’t run once. Early on my last  morning, after a long night out, one of my travel buddies decided to go for a run on the beach and asked me if I’d like to go on a run with her. It was my last day and I needed to do something, so I agreed. “Yes!” she said, obviously more excited about this workout than I was.

me_and_joMeet Josephine. Jo and I met through our other travel buddy Willa, who did not decide to join us on our run (she had gone paddling the day before, so we gave her a pass). Jo is a bit of a fitness buff, and with good reason as she’s in incredible shape. While most of us will just lay out on the beach and soak up the sun, Jo had no time for that idleness decided to do some yoga in the sand. She’s kinda my workout hero.

The beach was on the other side of a park at the end of our block (we stayed in an Airbnb apartment) Josephine and I got dressed and walked down the block to the park. Once there, Jo took off running. I’ve said before that I’m not a fast runner, clocking in with about a 10-minute mile. Jo’s much faster. Because we had gone our the night before, I found myself getting quite winded in the beginning. But after a few minutes, I was able to get back to my own pace and enjoy the run on the beach.

me_runningRunning on the beach is not like what you’ve seen in the movies or on “Baywatch.” It’s difficult. Sand is not a sturdy surface. I won’t compare it to running in mud, because with that you can feel like your foots getting stuck. Running in dry sand is like running on squishy twigs: you can’t really get the proper footing and with one wrong move, you’ll twist your ankle. My advice is to get close to the water where the sand has compacted more from the water. It’s still not as hard as concrete or grass, but it’s definitely more ideal than the pits and divots of dry sand.

We ran for a little less than half an hour up and down the beach, then found a park off to the side that had some workout equipment. There were parallel bars (ain’t no way), pull-up bars (you must be joking) and sit-up benches (I guess so). We were able to do a few before adding some jumps, hip hikes and glute stretches. It was a light workout, but I felt better for it.

Verdict

I highly recommend going on vacation (ha!). But seriously, if you don’t want to regret the bad things you did during your time off—and you know did some bad things—I suggest pulling a Josephine and squeezing in a few minutes of exercise during the down time. A few sit-ups here, a couple of squats there and you’ll be ready for all the alcohol you’ll have that night 🙂

What do you to stay fit during your vacation? Or do you just return to the grind when you get home?

Let Me Walk in Peace

11 Mar
running_again

If I ran in New York in this, I’d have to have my headphones at eardrum-bursting level to drown out the comments.

Editor’s note: Sorry for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, but I was on vacation in Rio. I’ll be posting this week about what I learned on my trip, and hopefully entice you to take a break there. Trust me: it’s awesome!

It’s March, which means spring is around the corner (hopefully). I don’t know about you, but dealing with the winter doldrums has taken its toll on me. I hate the cold. I hate the layers of clothes I have to put on. I hate that those layers cause a ridiculous amount of laundry that the man from the cleaners shakes his head at every time he comes to pick up my clothes. I will be so glad when this mess is over.

I’m a spring/summer kind of gal. I like the warm sun, the green grass, the lack of sweaters. I love the sun shining on full, green trees. Most of all, I love the beach. I like laying out on the sand and hearing the waves crash. When at the beach, there’s an expected attire. I’m talking bathing suits.

I’ve discussed before my apprehension with putting on a bikini. Well, last week I was on vacation in Rio de Janiero (everyone should go there at least once), and I saw things I’d never see here in America. There were women—old, young, tall, short, heavy, waify—all wearing Brazilian-style bikinis. You’ve never seen one? Take a gander.

Embed from Getty Images

Imagine seeing that on your grandmother. I saw it on several. And you know what? It was no big deal. Body image is a huge thing here in the States, as it is in many places. But in Brazil, everyone—men and women—walk around shirtless. The women, of course, wear their bikini tops. It doesn’t matter whether you have a flat tummy or you’re in need of a few more sit-ups, no one is pointing or gesturing at you. Everyone goes about their business, possibly to whisper behind your back, but no one is ever outright rude.

If I could have bottled that attitude and brought it back to the States with me, I would have. I, like many women, am often the subject of catcalling. My shape is frequently the subject of some man’s rude comments. For someone as body conscious as I am, it makes me terribly uncomfortable—and angry.

I work out for me. I get sweaty and gross and smelly for the purpose of getting healthy and feeling good about my appearance. Just because some stranger sees me doesn’t mean he has to grab himself and make rude comments. I’ve heard everything, but most comments are focused on my rear. It’s large; I’m aware of that. It’s also not an anomaly. I know this because I saw several of them in Brazil. And not once did I get catcalled or street harassed there.

You don’t know the comfort and relief that came the day I realized not one person had said something that would have set my father off about my body while on vacation. It felt normal to walk around in shorts and a bikini top, because it was hot. I wore little shorts and a tutu to a Carnival parade without fear of harassment.

I think if more people, particularly men, were exposed to other cultures, or even to the comments women hear on the daily, I hope they would have more sensitivity to our plight. Saying “Good morning” is a perfectly fine greeting. Followed up with how smackable my butt is kills any goodwill that may have been earned.

Maybe I just need to move to Brazil…

I’m stepping off my soapbox. Have you ever had to deal with catcalling? How do you deal with it.